New software will make

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2000

meetings easier, more efficient


Staff Writer

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In today’s schedule-driven society, gathering for face-to-face meetings is not always an easy task, but the Troy Pike Center for Technology has found a way around that.

Friday morning, representatives from the Troy City Board of Education, Pike County Board of Education, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and local businesses were introduced to GroupSystems software.

The software allows groups to work interactively and dynamically with collective group data.

"This is a really interesting piece of information," Hank Jones, superintendent of the Troy City School System, said of the software.

Evelyn Watson said the software purcase was made possible because of a School-to-Work grant. For that reason, the Troy Pike Center for Technology will be open to School-to-Work partners that might want to use GroupSystems for their meetings.

"We think it’s great," Watson said.

She also said the software purchase was one of the things listed in the five-year strategic plan for education that was created at a February meeting.

Many of those in attendance were a bit in awe of what the program can actually do.

Rudy Gazarek of RANA International Inc., which provides the GroupSystems software, illustrated everything the software can do.

Those in attendance sat down in front of computers, listed things that make Pike County a great place and watched as their ideas and those of others in the room simultaneously appeared on the screen.

In just a matter of a few minutes, 22 ideas were listed on each monitor, compared to the time it would have taken an individual to hand write them on a flip chart or blackboard. Those with similar ideas were combined in just a matter of seconds.

"We want to try making your meetings more successful," Gazarek said.

Gazarek said the software can cut meetings by over four hours because of its ability to compile information instantaneously.

Some of the software’s capabilities include: performing measurements, business process re-engineering, strategic planning and needs assessments. It can also be used for electronic brainstorming, like what was shown during the Friday morning meeting.

"What you observed today is only a very small sample of what this software can do," said Mark Bazzell, assistant superintendent of the Pike County Schools.

Local educators first looked at GroupSystems more than six months ago. Jones first became aware of it during a visit to Redstone Arsenal and was reintroduced to it during a November 2000 visit to Stennis Space Center.

"There’s been a significant amount of thought put into this," Jones said of purchasing GroupSystems. "We think this is going to be a really great thing."

Although the software can link people via the Internet, the Troy Pike Center for Technology does not have that capability because of the cost involved.